Archive for the 'Todd Draves' Category

Todd Draves

December 11, 2010


February 15th, 2011

Wayfinding

 

Observations

As I try and interpret current Wayfinding systems, I often come to the conclusion of being confused or uninformed. What makes a wayfinding system effective? Designers use systems of color, symbol, and message to direct viewers but what is best suited for certain environments? The tone of a message sometimes must inform without distracting, for instance in museums or galleries. Other times a visitor must correct a mistake of direction and be able to understand unfamiliar surroundings and navigate back.

Certain standards and techniques have been incorporated throughout Wayfinding globally including the icons of the AIGA Signs and Symbols Committee Manual and the uniform color-coding displayed in the design of the New York City Subway Map by Massimo Vignelli. But in certain situations the starkness of a bold color system or graphic iconography doesn’t fit within the attitude of its surroundings. For example, a standard ADA bathroom sign placed at adult eye level, in a children’s day-care, doesn’t take into consideration the audience and thus is less effective. When a system is in place, I feel that it should engage and inform the viewer through the environment, without resorting to unnecessary standards or conventions. Otherwise, directing a person from point A to point B gets redundant and predictable and in time; overlooked and under appreciated.

Thesis Statement

I argue that Wayfinding must serve its function while considering the personality of
the environment in which it lives and the audience that will utilize it.

Specific Terms

Wayfinding- signs, maps, and other graphic or audible methods used to convey
location and directions to travelers.

Symbol- something that represents something else by association, resemblance, or convention.

Coding- a systematic collection of regulations and rules of procedure or conduct.

 

January 25th, 2011

Wayfinding through image, color, and message.

Observations

I have noticed that when it comes to navigating around a city, there are several things to consider in order to successfully direct a viewer from point A to point B. Many variables must be examined such as the sign’s environment, the destination’s location, scale, color, symbol, and intended message. Generally, there are accepted standards for color coding such as; Red for attention or warning; Blue for information and location; and Green, for identification and directional. Other standards include usingsan-serif typefaces and the recognizable U.S. Department of Transportation symbols.

Likewise, some cities have decided to take their sign systems a step further and incorporate districts or symbols for types of locations in order to further differentiate their purpose. If a viewer was located in the business district shopping and wanted to find some sort of entertainment, they would then follow a color-coded system to find  the entertainment district. Also, in the realm of public transportation, if a rider is easily able to understand how to reach their destination, then they will be more likely to utilize this service. Basically, through the inclusion of effective visual triggers and an easily understood directional system, a downtown’s vitality and economic stability would be in place.

Thesis Statement

I argue that to increase an audience to a specific area, a simple and effective signage system is essential. A successful system must be readable, relatable, and understandable for a viewer to be able to utilize. This can be achieved through effective color coding, engaging symbols, and clear messages catered for the public to navigate throughout a location.

Specific Terms

Wayfinding- signs, maps, and other graphic or audible methods used to convey location and directions to travelers.

Case Study #1

AIGA Signs and Symbols Committee

A first set of 34 symbols was published in 1974, and received one of the first Presidential Design Awards; 16 more symbols were added in 1979. These copyright-free symbols have become the standard for off-the-shelf symbols in the catalogues of U.S. sign companies. This is a good example of the ease of communication symbols offer.

Case Study #2

Massimo Vignelli’s design for the New York Subway system is a good example of how
utilizing a color-code system to differentiate the routes allows a viewer to understand
the complex public transit system.

Case Study #3

The city of Kalamazoo has designated districts in order to separate the city into sections of interest. This is turn allows people navigating Kalamazoo the ability to understand the sections of the city and again uses color-coding to illustrate the different zones.

Bibliography

Meggs, Philip B., Alston W. Purvis, and Philip B. Meggs. Meggs’ History of Graphic Design.             Hoboken, NJ: J. Wiley & Sons, 2006. Print.

Forbes, Crosby Fletcher,. A Sign Systems Manual. Studio Vista, 1970. Print.

Golber, Richard. “A new approach to city signage.” Public Works 130.2 (1999): 45+.
General Reference Center Gold. Web. 25 Jan. 2011

Reading Log

Mixing Messages: Graphic Design in Contemporary Culture
-Ellen Lupton

The best of 1 & 2 color graphics
-Chen Design Associates and Templin Brink Design

Color Management: A color guide for Graphic Design
-John T. Drew and Sarah A. Meyer

Type, Sign, Symbol
-Adrian Frutiger

A Sign Systems Manuel
-Crosby

Print: Casebooks 5 1982-1983
Environmental Graphics

 

January 20th, 2011


Vinyl Application and Function

I have previously investigated the medium through my job and have learned how to plot, weed, mask, and apply vinyl lettering and/or graphics to varying surfaces including walls, windows, and signage. But I would like to discover other applications such as creating environments, vehicle wrapping, and small scale uses. I would investigate if vinyl has other more useful functions such as for book binding or protective layering as well as taking into consideration how the audience moves around an application and how light effects how it is viewed.

Commerical Advertisement

I find it interesting how companies utilize television and the internet to advertise for their product, service, or upcoming event. Also, billboards and posters offer a print based way to inform an audience and always has the element of time to engage a reader. It is important to take into consideration a viewers ability to read typographical information and both understand and remember what the advertisement is saying. Hierarchy plays a big role as well as the strategy a designer uses to capture the audiences attention. I would like to explore this fascist of design and find out what the key components to a successful message in a relatively small amount of time.

Street Signage and Wayfinding

I can’t help but wonder why street signage is used in so many different color combination and typographical differences and what effect these colors and information have on the comprehension of a viewer. Depending on the country and location, there could be several designs to deceiver relatively the same information. Why hasn’t a more organized visual system been established for the range of audiences street signs cater too? I would argue that by incorporating less typographical information and more color-coding and symbols in turn would be viewed as more universal to the array of individuals who may not understand the established language or culture of any location. Also, I personally have a hard time reading street names in my own city and wonder if using higher contrast and incorporating the environment of the sign could increase the visibility and readability of sign systems in the future.

I am interested in exploring the following:

Vinyl Application and Function

I have previously investigated the medium through my job and have learned how to plot, weed, mask, and apply vinyl lettering and/or graphics to wall surfaces, signage, and windows. But I would like to discover other applications such creating environments, vehicle wrapping, and small scale uses. I would also investigate if vinyl has other more useful functions such as for book binding or protective layering.

“Literate, Illiteracy”

I would like to explore the idea that our culture has achieved a certain level of competency through schooling as well as visual keys for typographical solutions. And how far a designer is able to push grammar and spelling in order to convey a successful message, as well as, intrigue a viewer. Does everything need to be literally spelled out for a viewer to be able to understand a message?

“Regional Design”

I am also interested in the differences in both content as well as form and how they may be geared toward certain communities. And how something created for suburban africa would be received differently for a viewer from the united states or europe. Also, how do countries such as in europe, which speak completely different languages and are in close proximity, can be targeted for a distinct region because of certain cultural traditions or customs. I would start by looking at printed material from varying communities as well as separate continents to try and differentiate their messages through their form and content.